We are holding a Faith in the Village Lent group again in 2018. As in previous years we will be using the York Courses material for the group and each of the five sessions will be led by a different person, representing the different church traditions who participate in Faith in the Village.
We particularly enjoy the York Courses material as the contributers to the CD interviews and the discussion booklet are people from across the church denominations. As you can imagine, with people in the group also from a variety of church backgrounds the discussions can get quite lively! We learn a lot from each other, and gain in understanding of what it means to live our Christian faith in the world today. The group is always a real help to those who come along, with companionship, laughter, sharing concerns and prayers all a part of the experience.
Cannon Andrew Wickens of Stoke Minster led our Faith in the Village Christmas carols in the conservatory early in December. We had a super turn-out and everyone sang their favourite carols heartily. The tree looked wonderful and we were able to enjoy the knitted nativity made a few years ago by our late friend Viv Cotton. There were mince pies and cakes to enjoy along with the coffee and tea. Visitors to the Village and staff were able to stop awhile and join in the carols too. It was a lovely Christmas celebration.
We’ve been running Faith in the Village, at West End Village, for six years now, it’s a sort-of church thing, but not churchy at all, which is probably why so many people enjoy it. Sadly, this week we lost one of the original driving forces behind Faith in the Village, to motor-neurone disease. Viv Cotton had been one of our most enthusiastic members and indeed it was Viv who came up with the name ‘Faith in the Village’. What Viv loved so much was the fact that it brought together people from across different church traditions and also people who’d not done church for a long time. It's fair to say that Christian believers in the UK don’t always mix too well, particularly Catholics and Protestants. But we overcame all that nonsense and we “just get on with sharing together” as Viv, a strong Catholic, would emphatically say. We started at the grass roots, didn’t ask anyone’s permission, and got on with getting on, and sharing faith together. It’s been an enlightening and joyful experience, and a lot of daft ideas we had about one another have been put right. We’ve been able to openly ask “why do you…?” and “what do you think about…?” with honest enquiry and love. We’ll miss Viv, her no-nonsense approach and deep, deep faith, and her smile. Bless you and your dear ones Viv.